2016 Atlanta Motorama / Engine & Exhaust / Q&A

Mailbag: Tips for Lifter Replacement in a Ford 460

Q: I have a 1978 Ford E-250 van. The engine is a 460 that’s bored .030″ over, has a 214°/224° @ .050″ flat tappet cam, an Edelbrock 750 cfm carb, headers, and a 3-inch dual exhaust. The heads, intake, crank, and rods are stock.

The lifters need to be replaced. Do I have to remove the cylinder heads to replace the lifters? I hope not, because to get the heads off, I have to remove the engine.

A: Good news—you don’t have to yank the cylinder heads to replace the lifters in a Ford 460. All you have to do is remove the valve covers, rocker arms, push rods, and intake manifold.

During installation, remember to lubricate the bottom of the lifters with the manufacturer recommended assembly lube and break in the cam as if it were new.

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  1. Benjamin Figueroa says:

    And is good too leave them in oil sometime before insntaling

  2. Daniel Wilson says:

    It’s generally thought that when flat tappet cam and lifter components have to be removed for other repairs to an engine, they have to be kept in order so that when they are reassembled, the same lifter is matched with the cam lobe that it was originally paired with.

    This is done with used non-roller cam components because each lobe along with its matching lifter will have a unique wear pattern and mixing the lifters with different lobes will cause greatly accelerated wear and premature failure of the cam lobes.

    So in the situation of this 460 needing a new set of lifters, shouldn’t a new cam also be installed to avoid any premature lobe wear and failure issues ? I welcome all comments on this topic.

    And the beat goes on….

  3. I have always replaced the cam and lifters as a set. Worn lifters could wipe the cam lobes in short order and vice versa. At the same time, a new set of cam bearing would be a good choice as well. It’s never worth cheaping out on one component.

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